In this digital age, your private information is more widely spread on the internet than you would want to believe. Here is how to (almost) completely wipe yourself off the internet and keep your private data – private.
If you’ve ever googled yourself, you know how much of your private information is actually out there for anyone and everyone to see.
While it’s not easy to completely remain unsearchable on the internet, you can minimize your digital footprint with a few steps.
If you are tired of finding your very private data pop up online, here is how to get started on almost completely wiping yourself from the internet.
4 Steps to Delete Yourself from the Internet
Step 1: Remove Your Search Results on Google
Google recently rolled out a setting that allows you to request the removal of search results that contain your personal data. You no longer have to wait for the webmasters to remove the pages with your bank account, social security number, and other sensitive data.
You can follow this easy tutorial to remove any Google search results with your identifiable private data. Once Google reviews your request, it’ll remove the page from the Google search results.
It’s a legal removal request you can submit to Google at your convenience.
This step will help you clean up what appears on the search results on Google.
Step 2: Delete yourself from data collection sites
There are many sites and companies out there that collect data with the intent to sell. Sites like Peoplefinder.com and whitepages.com are just some examples of big data collection sites.
Their business is to sell the collected data to third parties interested in the dataset. The collected and sold data is often used to enhance advertising and marketing purposes.
While you can manually make requests to remove yourself from such sites, using professional services is another path. It’s actually a far easier and more sure way to get yourself removed from those large data collection sites.
One service you can use is DeleteMe. Their service removes your personal information like age, relatives, past addresses, and photos.
They help put a stop to your personal information spreading across the internet and data brokers capturing those data to sell.
For a reasonable fee of $129 per year, they remove your data from hundreds of sites to save you hours and days of work.
Step 3: Opt Out from data brokers
When you think of data collectors and sites with personal info, you may not think of big data brokers like Equifax.
But Experian, Acxiom, Oracle, and Equifax are amongst those data brokers that handle and sell personal data.
The good news is, you can fill out their online forms or email them to opt out of your personal info being sold to third parties.
The Privacy Rights nonprofit organization makes it easy to see which companies actually allow you to opt-out and how. If you have shared your info with any of these companies in the past and didn’t opt out of their data-sharing practices, make a choice now.
Step 4: Shut down accounts you don’t use anymore
There are numerous sites you probably signed up for in the past but no longer use. Maybe it was your Myspace account or the very first Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Tracking them down and deleting them can significantly reduce your digital footprint.
The bad news is, this takes time and effort. You have to start by tracking back what social media accounts you had in the past and what email addresses you used for them.
If you no longer have their account credentials, you may have to begin by retrieving your password and accessing your accounts.
From there, follow the procedure to shut down those accounts.
You can also scan and search through your email to see what subscriptions you had previously.
You can also search your email addresses and user names on Google to see if any forgotten accounts might come up/
Along with shutting down those accounts, be sure to remove your old posts, photos, or any comments you might have left using those accounts.
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